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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Chinese Noodles Recipe

I'm sure Asian cooking guru Jaden of Steamy Kitchen would cringe if she saw this noodle recipe, but I can't help it. It was my go-to dish my last year in college and it's a keeper. My senior year I shared a big beach house with four other girls in Santa Cruz, California. I seemed to be the only one really interested in cooking. One was a Japanese American basketball player who ate bowls and bowls of rice, one was a perpetual dieter, another favored baked or fried foods that always seemed to incorporate Crisco, and one was a pint-sized Chinese American sophomore from Sacramento who came from a very large family. She didn't cook very frequently, but this easy noodle recipe was something I learned from her. I recently received a number of Annie Chun's noodles. The dried chow mein noodles reminded me of this long forgotten recipe. Perfect for a college student or anyone else for that matter, it's fast, cheap and easy. It can be eaten very simply or dressed up a...
Sunday, May 24, 2009

Cooking with Amy on View from the Bay!

Last week I was on View from the Bay and you can watch me demonstrate a recipe with only three ingredients! Ok, it has four if you count the salt. There are also three delicious Spring recipes reprinted from my book, Williams-Sonoma New Flavors for Appetizers : Chilled Pea Soup with Creme Fraiche and Chives, Fava Bean and Ricotta Crostini with Fresh Mint and Deviled Eggs with Watercress. If you can't find or don't want to bother with fresh fava beans, edamame make a great substitution. For the demo I used frozen green peas in the soup. Only use English peas if they are sweet and not starchy. I was also on Dining Around with Gene Burns yesterday. It was a great experience, Gene is a wonderful interviewer. You can download the podcast or listen online if you like....
Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Sweet Life in Paris: Book Review

I know why David Lebovitz gets inundated with questions from people planning trips to Paris. I know why perfect strangers want to visit him or better yet, dine with him. In addition to knowing exactly where to get the perfect baguette and being on a first name basis with every important chocolatier in town, he's also very funny. If you've ever visited his blog , you know what I mean. An artist friend of my parents moved to Paris and because, horrors! he still wasn't online, I printed page after page of it for him, in part, to convince him he needed to get online, if for no other reason than to read David's blog. While I am a fan of his cookbooks, his latest book really takes the cake. And yes, that would be chocolate cake. In The Sweet Life in Paris his observational powers and his equal parts snarky and self-deprecating humor give that other ex-pat David , a run for his money. In fact, perhaps that's why David Sedaris moved to London. Paris might not have been bi...
Thursday, May 14, 2009

Frommer's 500 Places for Food & Wine Lovers

I would love to tell you about the decadent and exotic trips I have planned this year. But my only travel plans are as follows--a trip to Seattle this weekend for the food blogger conference and two 3-day wedding weekends, one in Portland, Oregon and the other outside of Denver. Not exactly Paris, London, Barcelona, if you know what I mean. If last year was the year of the "staycation" I'm pretty sure this year will be the year of armchair travel for many people. When it comes to salivating over future destinations, I've got a great book to recommend, Frommer's 500 Places for Food & Wine Lovers . This is a compilation, with highlights from various guides chosen by none other than Holly Hughes, a name you may recognize as editor from the annual Best Food Writing series. Now the cover of the book features an " Outstanding in the Field " dinner. Not exactly the most accessible type of travel experience since dinners generally sell out months in ...
Tuesday, May 12, 2009

More Chow Tips!

Here are two more Chow Tips--one about how to get more juice and peel from lemons and another about extending the life of fresh herbs . In case you missed the last set of tips, here are links for: * An easy way to roast and char eggplants for baba ghanoush without a grill * The quickest way to marinate beef * The tastiest technique for cooking whole baby artichokes and * What to do with leftover risotto...
Sunday, May 10, 2009

Bittersweet: Book Review

It's Mother's Day and I can't think of a more fitting tribute than Bittersweet:Lessons from My Mother's Kitchen . Lots of "memoirs with food" are about discovery and love and various happy episodes in life, but Bittersweet is not that kind of memoir. A seasoned war correspondent and Pulitzer prize-winning author, Matt McAllester begins his tale with the death of his mother, a woman who struggled for years with mental illness and alcoholism. He is someone who knows how to write about pain, but this is another kind of pain altogether. It is personal. Just as food is a way to explore pleasure, it is also a way to explore grief and healing. McAllester tries to find the mother he has lost and that the world lost to madness, through her recipes and his recollection of meals she prepared for him in happier times. His writing is masterful and deeply confessional. The recipes, and the sense of discovery and understanding that come from this journey are bittersweet...
Thursday, May 07, 2009

Apricot Stuffed Pork Loin Recipe

A few years ago I discovered a wonderful mustard at the Fancy Food Show. I wrote about it and not long after it won the gold prize at the Napa Valley mustard competition. That was just one in a long line of award winning products. Pam Kraemer founder of Dulcet Cuisine has a real knack for creating outstanding mustards, sauces, and now ketchups. I'm always excited to try new products from Dulcet Cuisine and play with them. Kraemer uses very high quality ingredients and isn't satisfied until her products are the best they can be. They don't just make great condiments, they really shine as ingredients in recipes. She usually does all her own recipe development, but now and then I get to help out and share my creations. I have to admit, I had never stuffed a pork loin before. But it turns out to be very easy and impressive. Rather than butterfly the whole loin and stuff, roll and tie, I just created an incision in the loin and made a pocket large enough to accommodate a ...
Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Chow Tips starring me!

I could spend hours surfing over at Chow.com . It's that hip food site that was briefly a magazine. It includes not just recipes but blogs, stories, message boards, cool videos and one of my favorite features, Chow Tips . At 45 seconds a piece, they don't take much time to watch and give you just the details you need. When I talked to the video producer at Chow I suggested six different ideas for tips, and to my surprise, she said yes to all of them! Here are the first four, two more are on their way. I hope you enjoy watching them as much I enjoyed shooting them. As an added benefit, Chow has also also posted the recipes for Roasted Baby Artichokes with Meyer Lemon-Saffron Aioli and Cheese Stuffed Risotto Cakes from the cookbook I wrote, Williams-Sonoma New Flavors for Appetizers . cheers, Amy ...
Sunday, May 03, 2009

Tea Together Jams: Favorite Things

Some people don't like receiving product samples, but I don't mind. Of course I'm pretty fussy about what I'll consider and not everything I try is wonderful. But I never know what unexpected taste will inspire me. Over the past few years I've discovered some wonderful things that have become staples in my overflowing pantry. Perhaps from my recipes you can tell I favor classic recipes with a twist--an unexpected flavor, ingredient or technique. A few weeks ago I received some samples of Tea Together organic jams and marmalades and here's the thing, they are each a bit out of the ordinary. Just check out these flavors--Blackberry & Elderberry with Fresh Ginger, Summer Pudding with Vanilla Pod, Orange Marmalade with Cinnamon Quill, Lemon Marmalade with Earl Grey Tea. See what I mean? The jams and marmalades are bright and intensely flavored but still retain a good texture even without added pectin. Made in the north of France in the village of St. Remy ...
Friday, May 01, 2009

Divina Cucina's Recipes: Cookbook review

Can you imagine a cookbook with ingredients but no measurements? My cookbook that I got from the school I attended in Florence many years ago is like that. So is the cookbook A Tuscan in the Kitchen . Tuscans are funny that way. Because they grew up cooking without measurements, they can't imagine why anyone else should need them. Thank goodness for Divina Cucina's Recipes , because my ability to write down recipes back in the day was not what it is today, and I actually appreciate measurements with my recipes. Judy Witts Francini is an American who has been living in Florence for over 25 years. She's a fantastic cook and cooking instructor and also has a lovely blog that really gives you a feel for shopping, cooking and eating in Italy. When I heard she was publishing a cookbook of recipes, I couldn't wait to check it out. The dishes in the book are absolutely what I remember from living with a family in Florence. Included are the recipes for what local people actua...